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The Supreme Courts 1966 Miranda ruling providing for the right to remain silent is now a well-known phrase thanks to American mass media and especially popular television police dramas However not nearly as well known is that for better or worse this right can also be extended to the workplace The topic of this paper is to examine the legality and issues involved with regard to questioning applicants during the hiring process about their arrest and conviction records Discrimination occurs at all levels of society involving many types of people for various reasons In the 1960s a populist movement in the United States raised national awareness of civil rights as an issue in American society culminating in 1964 with landmark legislation The Civil Rights Act of 1964 dramatically altered the landscape that had permitted discrimination to occur in the United States of America upon the basis of an indiciduals race color religion sex and national origin However landscapes do not change overnight American society and its employers have been forced to revise their hiring selection promotion and termination employment practices in order to conform to Title VII The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission EEOC was created to enforce adherence to the Act by employers and promote the practice of observing Title VII provisions in the workplace The EEOC has developed administrative guidelines which federal agencies and employers must follow to remain in compliance with Title VII In cases where those guidelines are not followed the EEOC may bring suit in federal court against the employer in question One such guideline and the topic of this paper involves pre-employment inquiries The EEOCs pre-employment inquiry guidelines are designed to assist employers in identifying what types of questions are permissible and which should be avoided during the pre-offer or hiring stage For example EEOC guidance suggests that comments made during the hiring process by employers regarding the nature of an applicants surname should be avoided Such questioning
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